[community profile] fandom_stocking fic for [personal profile] john_amend_all.

Gen, 1200 words

A Pocketful Of Cream

"My dear young man," said the woman in the very pretty hat. "Would it be too much to ask what you are doing here?"

"Hmm?" Somewhat dazed, the Doctor looked up and down and round about, rather distracted by the idea that the very pretty hat might not look out of place on his own head. He was wearing a fez, and he briefly considered suggesting a swap. The thought petered out when he realised that – fez excluded – he appeared to be completely naked, save for a somewhat incongruous plate of profiteroles. A very tasty-looking plate of profiteroles, liberally coated with chocolate sauce; but, nonetheless, not terribly practical as an item of clothing. He frowned. He was sure he had been wearing something else. He had been shopping with Amy, and he was pretty sure that Woolworths – and Amy, for that matter – usually required rather more substance in the clothing department than choux pastry. He came to another realisation then. He was wearing something else. A thin chain connected his left wrist to the right wrist of the woman in the very pretty hat. Probably that explained her slightly cross expression.

"Ah," he said. She was looking at him with one eyebrow raised; perfectly patient, the way that English ladies of the period so generally were – especially, in his experience, the ones with truly excellent millinery – but nonetheless with an air of expectation. She likely expected him to produce some more substantive clothing; or at the very least, a handcuff key.

"Yes, quite," she replied, looking none too impressed by the extent of his conversation so far. "It's not that I don't appreciate the company, Mr...?"

"Doctor," he told her, and the other eyebrow joined the first, several inches above her eyes.

"Indeed? Are you a medical man, or is the doctorate in some other area?"

"Oh, it's in, um, this and that. And the other. Quite a bit of the other. Quite a lot of the other, actually. Um, you didn't happen to see a man, did you? A rather tall sort of man? Possibly he had a goatee? Often does. Bit of a fetish for dark clothing? Or sometimes he looks different. Usually giggles quite a bit."

"I didn't see anybody, I'm afraid. I was pruning my roses, and quite suddenly there you were, Doctor...?"

"Oh! My name. Of course. It's Smith. Doctor Smith. Bit obvious, I know, but there have to be quite a few, or it couldn't have become a cliche. Hello."

"Hello." She extended her right hand, presumably out of habit, and they managed a slightly discommoded shake. "My name is Jane Marple. You'll have to excuse me, Doctor Smith, but I do perhaps tend to ask more questions than is considered polite. Only... is there any particular reason why you are handcuffed to me? Is this some sort of a dare? One does hear these stories about medical students, but you do look a little old for that."

"Yes. Yes, I am. A bit. A big bit. Probably about a thousand years too old, and that doesn't sound terribly believable really, does it. Sorry. Should have met me a few heads ago. Might have... yes. The handcuffs. Really not sure about that. I was in Woolworths, you see. I don't remember any handcuffs. Do Woolworths usually sell handcuffs?"

"Not in my experience, no. One does generally find handcuffs in the vicinity of policemen, however...?"

"Yes. I suppose one does." The Doctor frowned at that, his thoughts travelling, in none too straight a line, down toward the profiteroles. If she was beginning to think of policemen, perhaps he ought to offer a profiterole or two to his companion? It did seem a good way to make friends, and it would be quite selfish to keep them all to himself. The British could be quite odd about clothing though, if he remembered correctly. The woman was already making an obvious point to look anywhere but at the plate. He decided to leave it where it was for now. "I'm not a policeman, though."

"No, I really didn't imagine that you were. Policemen, as a general rule, do not lurk in my garden wearing..." Her eyes trailed briefly to the profiteroles, and then moved back up to his face. "Wearing such exotic headgear. A fez?"

"Yes! It's good, isn't it. I like a fez. Fezzes are cool."

"I believe that they are considered excellent for keeping the head cool in foreign climes, certainly. Have you travelled much, Doctor Smith?"

"Yes. Yes, I like to travel."

"As do I. One acquires a great deal of experience through travel. Considerable insight into the human condition, I think, through one's dealings with people from many places."

"Yes! Precisely. Travel broadens the mind."

"It does indeed." Her expression softened a little. "You know, I do believe that there might be a hacksaw in the shed. There might even be some overalls in there. You're rather skinnier than the man who helps out in the garden, but..." An unmistakeable twinkle lit her eyes. "That is unless you prefer to go about dressed in confectionery?"

"To be honest, it is a bit draughty," he confessed, and a faint smile crossed her face.

"Yes, I thought that it might be."

"Do you like profiteroles?" he asked her, as they began to head across the garden. She nodded.

"Yes, I do. Very much. But I think perhaps we shall leave them where they are, at least for the time being."

"Fair enough." He hesitated. "How about the fez? Swap you?"

"I don't think it quite goes with my outfit."

"Could be a new look? Fezzes are cool. Everybody loves a fez."

"I shall think about it." She produced a small pair of spectacles, and peered at the hat critically through them. "Although I do fear that it would be somewhat large for me."

"Start a new fashion," he suggested.

"Is that what you are trying to do?"

"It's complicated," he said, and she nodded knowingly.

"I imagined that it would be. And the gentleman with the goatee?"

"Likes complications. Also profiteroles, apparently. Which is a new one for him. Either he's developing a very weird sense of humour, or his plans have all gone wrong again, and I got lucky. Probably I was supposed to end up trapped in a cage with a Dalek. Profiteroles are a lot better than that. Even with the draught."

"Indubitably." She gestured ahead. "The shed, Doctor Smith."

"Thank you. You're very trusting, incidentally. I mean, handcuffs, lack of clothing. I could be anyone."

"I assure you, Doctor Smith, that I am an excellent judge of character. Also, whilst I would prefer not to look too closely just yet, I am aware that those are profiteroles of the highest order. Only a gentleman would wear a sweet course of such distinction. Now, let us find the hacksaw and the overalls, and then perhaps we can find a nice pot of tea, and put your present attire to a rather better purpose?"

"I like you, Jane Marple," said the Doctor, with a big smile. Miss Marple smiled politely.

"Thank you, Doctor Smith. That really is most kind."

The End



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